Frenchboro Public Library
and
Historical Society

A Brief History of the Library

the main desk

The first known public library in the village of Frenchboro, called the Long Island Seaman's Library, was established by Rehoboth Hannah Lunt in the late 1830s. Its collection was housed in the homes of island residents.

The Seaman's Library was long gone by the time a new library collection was established. In 1969, Frenchboro received a donation of 135 books from neaby Isle au Haut. A second donation followed in 1972. These books were the beginning of the new library collection, and were kept in the parsonage until the construction of a library building. This effort was headed up by Vivian Lunt, who, with her sister Lillian Lunt, was also a leader of the Historical Society; many community members pitched in to donate books and funds.

The current library space was added in several parts over the course of the late 1980s and early 1990s to the Historical Society building that houses the museum. Computers and wi-fi were added in the 1990s.

Hundreds of community members and visitors have contributed in one way or another to the library since then, whether by donating books, money, or materials, buying from the annual used book sale, or volunteering their time to keep the library going. Because of this participation the library is, and hopefully will remain, a central feature of the Frenchboro community.

Frenchboro History

The town of Frenchboro encompasses twelve islands in Downeast Maine; only one, Long Island (formerly called Outer Long Island), currently has a year-round population. Until at least 1839, the Penobscot visited the island seasonally to fish and pick berries, keeping camps on the eastern shore of the harbor and on Yellow Head. There were several short–lived attempts to settle the island permanently in the early 1800s, and the first one to succeed was in 1822. Outer Long Island has been continuously inhabited ever since.

The village was named for a Tremont–based lawyer, E. Webster French, who helped to establish the island's post office in the 1890s. The village has been called Frenchboro since then, but the official name of the settlement was Long Island Plantation until Frenchboro became incorporated as a town in 1979.

The town has nearly always maintained some form of school; the current school building stands just across the road from the library and teaches grades K–8 in one classroom.

Fishing of one kind or another has been the primary driving economic force throughout the town's 200–year history. The main catch these days is lobster, but cod and herring have also been prominent in years past.

The town currently has a year–round population of around thirty residents, roughly doubling in the summer, and most year–round households have some connection to the lobster fishery. There are no stores on the island, and the dockside deli is open seasonally. The church has weekly services during the summer and holiday services in the winter. The island's remoteness, while a challenge for every resident, is also one of the reasons many community members love living here.

If you would like to learn more about the island's history, visit our historical society museum or see Hauling by Hand by Dean Lunt. Copies are available in the library and for purchase online.

The Memorial Garden

Alana Rundlett's stone in the memorial garden
Alana Rundlett's stone in the memorial garden

The Memorial Garden is just outside the north entrance to the library. The first stone was placed in the year 2000 in memory of Alana Rundlett, the grandchild of Derry Rundlett and Chuck and Marlys Amos. Over the years other community members have placed stones for their loved ones and beloved community members, and volunteers maintain the garden in their memory.

The Frenchboro Public Library in the News

Considering Frenchboro's always–open library

Contact Us

Marlys Amos, library director: frenchborolibrary@gmail.com

Natalie Hyde–Petersen, Island Fellow: npetersen@islandinstitute.org